April 12, 2021
At the October 2019 Opportunity Youth Forum Fall Convening in Aspen, Colorado, young leaders and adult allies from several communities came together for a roundtable discussion that explored the connections between fostering and supporting youth voice and the overall narrative change efforts led by these collaboratives.
Since that conversation and the writing of the resulting report, Advancing Youth Voice and Changing the Narrative About Opportunity Youth, the country has experienced the Covid-19 health pandemic, the economic downturn that is disproportionately affecting the education and career prospects of opportunity youth, and the growing movement in response to the disproportionate impact on communities of color of chronic structural racism and acts of state violence. With the backdrop of this context, we now bring together some of the young leaders and their allies who participated in the roundtable to share their evolving efforts to center youth voice and youth decision-making in their work.
Together, these leaders will reflect on the themes of storytelling and healing, sharing power and responsibility with young people, creating healthy spaces for young people to grow into leadership roles, and ensuring that young leaders – who are organizing in their communities while experiencing their own challenges and trauma – have opportunities and spaces in which to heal.
Young Leaders Panel:
- Dorian Lara, Roadmap to Peace
- Jocelyn Gama, Urban Strategies Council
- Amanda Shabowich, United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley
- Jamiel Alexander, Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions (moderator)
Adult Allies Panel
- Katherine Almendares, Roadmap to Peace
- Kristin McSwain, Boston Opportunity Agenda
- Yelena Nemoy, Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions (moderator)